Thinking like a social worker

…any questions? Yes. I have plenty.

Monday Morning Share: Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day!

Over the past couple weeks, I have been following a beautiful labor movement –  The fast food protests to increase the minimum wage.  I also had the opportunity to watch pieces of the 50th anniversary of the March of Washington.  When I hear about people coming together to fight inequality, I ALWAYS cry, because it gives me hope for America’s future.  So while I share many articles on the politics of poverty and studies about poverty in Virginia and around the nation, I am hopeful that together we can demand opportunity for all Americans.

Poverty in Virginia – summer 2013:

  1. Virginia Scorecard shows poverty is worsening.  The poverty section gives more detail about the score.  It also reports that the state has limited influence on poverty.  What?!  I think my multiple articles below shows that the government can have a huge impact on poverty.
  2. Voices for Virginia’s Children report on VA’s Kids Count Profile.  This report also shows setbacks in economic well-being.  Child poverty  has increased by 15 percent since 2005.
  3. Richmond’s Mayor talks about Restructuring Municipal Budgets to Fight Poverty in Spotlight on Poverty.
  4. Virginia Poverty Measure (VPM) gives Virginians a more accurate picture of economic distress.  Its an poverty measure similar to the SPM that I wrote about in January, but focuses on individual-level data.
  5. I just learned about a new blog: through The Commonwealth Institute.  It covers economic issues in Virginia.


  1. A couple articles focus on the Cato Institutes report on welfare: Right-Wing Media Have No Clue How Anti-Poverty Programs Work and Think tank says poor Americans have it too good.
  2. Republicans Are Wearing Driving Millions Into Poverty as a Badge of Honor discusses the sequester’s effect on individuals in poverty.
  3. Expert Testimony from Tianna Gaines-Turner, who is living in and fighting poverty, that was not heard in Washington.
  4. Poverty & Policy blog explains attacks on SNAP program in Congress.
  5. 80 percent of U.S. adults face near poverty, unemployment: Survey is a recent survey through AP.  There has been much discussion around it’s findings.
  6. Our growing racial wealth gap talks about a recent study from Urban Institute.

Please share with me other articles that I may have missed this month.  If you are interested in more up-to-date posts, I retweet articles on my twitter feed throughout the month.

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Monday Morning Share: July was intense

Did I mention July was intense!?

Congress trying to cut SNAP, Wendy Davis standing up for women’s rights, Supreme Court taking away voting rights, Supreme court acknowledging rights of LBTQ families, everyone ignoring the sequester’s affect on food and housing, George Zimmerman being acquitted, and more that hasn’t crossed my radar.

Does your brain ever hurt trying to work through systemic issues that plague our country?

My brain is hurting today.

I am taking time to read many thoughtful articles discussing the implications of Trayvon’s tragic death, and the trail that followed.

  7. And a list of articles I have not read yet:

At the same time, I am reading about our government’s attempt to slash funds to housing and food for individuals and families in poverty.


While I read reflections on the George Zimmerman case, I reflect on my own prejudices and white privilege. As I read about our government taking away access to basic necessities, I can’t help but to think about who is deserving and undeserving of those necessities.

If I still have beliefs that are oppressive and judgmental and just plain wrong, what is the rest of America thinking?

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Monday Morning Share: Poverty and Privilege

School Finance 101 Blog wrote a piece on The Perils of Economic Thinking, which brought me back to why I started this blog in the first place.  It is fun for me to look back a year ago when I started writing.  I thought that economics would have some answers into human behavior.  I am not so sure anymore, economists seem so far away from the lives of real people.  When I read articles, like the ones below on poverty and privilege, and when I talk with individuals wanting assistance, I can see that economists are a part of the problem.  Maybe that is the reason for continuing learning about economics, so that I can speak the language and have creditably with individuals making decisions that effect others lives.  With that being said, I know there are great theorists out there.  Anyone I should read up on?
Power and Privilege:


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Monday Morning Share: I missed you too

I have been wonderful and busy for the past three weeks.  I have celebrated big news and new experiences.  Hopefully I can share some of those later.  For now, here are some interesting articles from the past couple weeks.



  1. Rethinking Schools Magazine – Learning Math, Learning Social Justice
  2. What the rich think about education
  3. Nine things educators should know about the brain
  4. Students protest school closings (Chicago Tribune)
  5. School suspensions: Does racial bias feed the school to prison pipeline
  6. Is Public School Activist’s Status as Private School Parent Relevant?
  7. Can we trust the high school graduation rate?


  1. Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity – Economic Opportunity Research
  2. Going to Bed Hungry
  3. Photo Slideshow: Poverty in Today’s America
  4. Bill Moyers Essay: The United States of Inequality


  1. The state of the nonprofit sector? Not so hot. (Katya Non-Profit Marketing Blog)


Upcoming Webinars:

  1. Sexual and Domestic Violence Webinars
  2. The Affordable Care Act, Poverty, and Asset Building (5/1 @ 11AM)
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Sunday Evening Share: Spring Snow

If you are wondering about my week:

  1. I felt icky about Pallotta’s TED talk on increasing nonprofit overhead.  I understand innovation, but I also know how important our causes are, so how important it is to be good stewards of our finances.
  2. I cried reading about the father-daughter dance that took place at Richmond City Jail.  It really restored my faith in humanity.

I also found the below articles interesting.


Social Work

  1. Starting a career at a reproductive justice social worker
  2. Social work and liberalism 


  1. Scientists believe ending poverty hinges on tougher environmental goals
  2. Why there is little coverage of Americans struggling with poverty and Questions about coverage on poverty
  3. Can home visiting alleviate poverty? 


  1. Schools segregation by race and income worsening in the Richmond region
  2. Smart, low-income students are applying the the wrong colleges
  3. Richmond high schools create alternatives to suspension


Upcoming Free Webinars:

  1. List from Wild Apricot
  2. List from nonprofit webinars

I am looking for good resources on support groups and bereavement groups.  If anyone knows of any, please comment with the link below!

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Sunday Evening Share

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  The second week of March has treated me well.  I enjoyed the leadership talk with Rosetta Thurman, Trista Harris, and Paul Schmitz.  I learned that congress has a social work caucus.  I nodded furiously to Classroom to the Capital posts: Patience: An overrated virtue and There’s Always Something We Can Do.  I sadly missed the first Social Work Helper twitter chat about online advocacy, but plan to join the next.  And I mourned the coming loss of Google reader – any suggestions on something similar?

There was some great news this week:

And some news that won’t go way:

  • People are still arguing about raising the minimum wage.  (Which gives me a strong urge to punch people.)
  • NYC may still be able to enjoy oversize beverages, so NYC needs to find a new way to address connection between poverty and obesity.

Special Topics:


  1. Chicago Tribune investages Chicago Public Schools publishing An Empty-Desk Epidemic.
  2. David Sirota writes about possible hidden agendas of wealthy educational reformers in Salon.

Professional Development:


  •  The Science of Communication was a great presentation by Sendhil Mullainathan.  My epiphanies:   1.) Don’t tell people what to do, help them do it by making the positive behavior easier.  2.) Sometimes making a big impact means focusing on small changeable behaviors.


Upcoming free webinars:

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Sunday Evening Share: Injustice Everywhere

On Friday, the world celebrated International Women’s Day.  That same day I learned that  Zerlina Maxwell was harassed after saying men can prevent rape.  Seriously?!  As a social worker, do ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of injustice in the world?  If so, make sure to check out the social work section I will be including all March for Social Work Month.

Special Topics:

Social Work:

  1. Vice recently shared the view of a disgruntled social worker in SF which sparked social workers to share their their own opinions.  One discusses a differing opinion of working in SF; another expresses her anger at the post; and last discusses the obligation of organizations to social workers.
  2. The Political Social Worker discusses Social Work’s Visibility Problem.
  3. Classroom to Capitol reminds us to believe our clients.


  1. Video depicting the wealth inequality in America.
  2. Greg Kaufmann reviews two documentaries on poverty in America.


  1. A timeline of the Richmond region’s civil rights in public schools by The Richmond Times Dispatch.

Professional Development:

Free Webinars:

  1. Everyone Leads: 5 Ways to Step Up and Make a Greater Impact in Your Work – Monday, March 11th @ 12PM
  2. Who is poor in this country and why – Wednesday, March 13th @ 2PM
  3. Poverty, Public Education, and Corporate Influence – Monday, March 11th @ 8PM


  1. Conference on Race, Class, Opportunity and School Boundaries in the Richmond Region • March 13-14, 2013
  2. Articles on Creativity: Bruce Nussbaum explains how to find and amplify creativity.  Another blog asks Bruce additional questions about creativity.
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Saturday Morning Share: Avoiding sequestration

Happy Social Work Month!  This week seemed to be all about the sequestration, which is very depressing and frustrating to me.  So I have been avoided the topic all week.   Here are some of the goodies (minus the cliff) I found interesting this week:

Special Topics:


  1. Comparison of Benefits for Poor Families to Middle-Class Incomes Is Deeply Flawed – Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (I blogged on this topic back in December.  CBPP gives a much more in depth look at the senate document.)


  1. Mathematica 2013 Report on KIPP Middle Schools Impacts on Achievement and Other Outcomes and a rebuttal from School Finance 101
  2. School Culture and the Civic Empowerment Gap – Harvard Education Letter 
  3. More Black Men in College than in Prison – The American Prospect

Professional Development:

FREE Upcoming Webinars:

  1. March listing of free webinars on the Wild Apricot Blog
  2. Addressing homelessness and mental health challenges – Friday, March 8th @ 9AM
  3. Who is poor in this country and why – Wednesday, March 13th @ 2PM

Anything I missed this week?

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Saturday Morning Share

I plan on sharing my favorite articles, blog posts, and reports from the week each Saturday morning.  Did I miss anything good this week?



  1. Ten Things You Should Know About #TheRealTANF – The Nation
  2. Poverty rates higher for blacks and Hispanics than whites and Asians – Washington Post
  3. Prison and Poverty Trap – New York Times
  4. Where you live determines how long you live – Richmond Times Dispatch


  1. Special Report: Class Struggle – How charter schools get students they want – Reuters
  2. For Each and Every Child: A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence – US Department of Education  (Summary available at Education Week)
  3. This American Life 487: Harper High School, Part One – NPR (part two will be posted on Sunday evening)



  1. The 12 Things You Are Not Taught in School About Creative Thinking – Part 1 & Part 2 – Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog
  2. Motivational Interviewing: A Client-Centered Approach – Part 1 & Part 2  – Social Work Career Development Blog

FREE Upcoming Webinars:

  1. From Story to Action: Using Film in your Economic Fairness Campaign – Tuesday, February 26, 2-3pm
  2. How to Write Faster: Tips for Nonprofit Marketers and Fundraisers – Tuesday, March 5, 11am-12pm
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